Behind The Door by Mary SanGiovanni captivated me from the synopsis that mentions an occult specialist. It also helped that the cover was so creepy, eerie, and menacing with these hands reaching out behind a door like they were coming for me. This is the first time I have read a book by SanGiovanni and it will most definitely NOT be my last.
There is a rural town in Pennsylvania called Zarephath. And deep in the woods of this town there is a solitary door that has always been there. And no one knows how it got there. All the townspeople know is that they can write a wish down, seal it in an envelope with wax and a little bit of their blood, slide it under the door, and then in three days the wish will come true. You can only have one wish. And you must never, ever open the door. Sounds… pretty awesome and easy, right?
But just as Stephen King probed our curiosity in Pet Sematary, the Door tempts someone in Zarephath that maybe someone close to them can return to the living. That one parallel being made, this book is highly original and fresh.
The author did a great job at creating a lot of characters whose stories become intertwined as we follow along. Each character had their pasts, their sins, their wishes, and their own trip to the Door. I loved all the reasons that people went to the Door and how they all became affected by it as the story progressed. SanGiovanni did an awesome job freaking me out with these parts!
I really liked the main character, occult specialist, Kathy Ryan. She was a strong lead and had a fun personality. She makes her voice heard and is seen as someone in control with good authority from the town early on. The town already believes in the powers of the Door, so it was not super hard for them to believe there was someone like Kathy Ryan who could come in and help them. It was really cool seeing a woman take this leading role and completely dominate it! I am a fan of Kathy Ryan and will be rooting for her as her story continues to unfold in later books. I read online that this is a series and I am excited for more!
Lastly, I will always be a fan of books that have evil in a small, rural town. It’s always fun for me to see evil try to sneak in the backdoor, of a small town with what one would expect to have small-minds and inhabitants who seem simple or lack ambition. I love how they pull together and how they become strong and we get to see the growth of those characters. So if that is your thing, then this book will not disappoint.
One of the themes I will leave with after reading this book is that some things are worth surviving instead of changing. 4 out of 5 stars to this book and I am already excited to see where SanGiovanni takes me next.
Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.